The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, recently announced that it would review 52 anti-dumping measures against aluminum foil, bicycles, ceramic tiles, and many other products imported from China. A large number of affected Chinese companies are likely to apply for a review, and certain unjustifiable E.U. countervailing duties may be abolished. However, experts warned that the review is just the first step in the European Union’s mistake rectifying process, calling for greater sincerity and more concrete actions from the union.
Delayed justice for Chinese companies
A WTO ruling in favor of China issued last year required the European Union to review its anti-dumping measures.
On July 31, 2009, China appealed the fastening pieces anti-dumping measures taken by EU to China and EU's "basic anti-dumping regulations" to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism. On July 15, 2011, the WTO ruled that EU's "basic anti-dumping regulations" on separate tax rate and EU's fastening pieces anti-dumping measures to China, violated the WTO rules.
The EU did not immediately correct their errors on the ruling of the WTO but declared reexamination after nine months. On March 23, 2012, the European Commission finally announced to reexamine 52 anti-dumping measures to China and invite interested parties to put forward an application for reexamination so that the European Commission can make decisions whether they will repeal, amend or maintain the measures.
China welcomed the behavior of the EU. An official of the Department of Treat and Law of the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China said that China hopes the EU can implement the WTO's ruling as soon as possible, correct the behavior of violating the WTO rules and give Chinese enterprises a fair and equitable treatment to promote healthy development of the bilateral trade.
It depends on the result of the reexamination whether China will benefit or not.
This is China's first winning lawsuit case against the EU in the WTO. The case will force the EU to amend its "basic anti-dumping regulations" and adjust its anti-dumping measures.
Zhao Chunming, professor and vice dean of the School of Economics and Business Administration at Beijing Norma University, said in an interview with our reporter that the reexamination indicates that China's national strength increased. The EU has not been walking out from the plight of EU's debt crisis and the reexamination also indicates that the EU has considered the future relations with China and hope China to play a greater role to help them out of the plight.
However, some related people pointed out that whether China will benefit or not depends on the reaction of EU and the reexamination process.
Yuan Minggang, a researcher of Institute of Economics of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the current economic situation of the Europe showed great uncertainty.
Chen Eryi, a lawyer of Beijing Giant and Goal Law Firm, said that EU intends to correct their erroneous practices from the announcement of EU, but it is more worthy of attention whether the practices are legal, and we need to be vigilant that the reexamination is just a show.
Eliminating trade discrimination and safeguarding trade fairness
Currently, China is the second largest trade partner, second largest export destination country and the largest import source country for the European Union.
Experts all believe that if the European Union corrects its wrong actions and eliminates its discrimination trade clauses against China, it will be good for safeguarding the fairness and justice of the global trade.
Zhao said that the large-scale re-examination is a positive sign in the current general trade environment where the trade friction is the mainstream.
Zhang Monan, associate researcher from the Economic Prediction Department under the State Information Center, believes that it is an important step taken by the European Union for correcting its improper anti-dumping measures against China and implementing relevant judgments by the WTO. People hope that the re-examination by the European Union is a truly practical measure for the European Union to correct its actions violating WTO rules.